Last Tuesday I headed down to Dingwalls in Camden to check out Pure Reason Revolution on the last UK date of their current tour. I wasn’t sure what to expect, I saw them a couple of years ago in a tiny venue in Cambridge and they were great, but their new album was so different, would they still be as good live, and how would the larger venue and new songs work out live?
After fighting my way through to the bar and grabbing a swift guinness (well it was st.paddys day) I found myself a good spot by the stage and started checking out the first support band. Of The I are a progressive metal band from london, they were really fantastic musicians with a great live sound and some good songs, but they seem a bit too stuck in nu-metal and their lead singer really got on my nerves. His random shouts which didn’t seem to have any bearing to the music were bad enough but he fell foul of my pet hate, singing with an american accent when (as far as I can tell) he’s not american. The next support was The Domino State. They washed past me in waves of blandness and instantly forgettable songs.
When Pure Reason Revolution came on they utterly blew the support bands away. They’ve managed to recreate their impressive rich recorded sound pretty well.It does rely pretty heavily on backing tracks but short of bringing on a full orchestra and choir theres not much else they can do, plus the live guitars and keyboards do more than enough to add that organic spontaneous touch that you want from a gig and give you that rock ‘n’ roll blast that leaves you grinning from ear to ear.
PRR were also incredibly tight musically, I didn’t notice a single missed note, they’ve obviously been playing so much over the last few years that they’ve become an incredibly accomplished live band. They pulled off some incrdibly complex stuff, watching them perform 3 part vocal harmonies live was utterly jawdropping.
All this was also set to a pretty hypnotic light show, featuring tripped out black and white cartoons and sections from Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali’s surrealist piece of genius Un Chien Andalou. PRR were wearing their arty influences firmly.
There was one moment when some of the keyboards cut-out, and the light show died about 3/4 of the way through but there was so much technology there something was bound to go wrong, and it was dealt with pretty promptly by the roadies who were running around frantically throughout the night.
The main revelation that came from the night was how the new songs, which sounded so completly different to their old stuff, seemed to fit perfectly into their live sound. There was far less of a gap between the old and new and instead it was much clearer how their sound had evolved organically and that the new sound is one that has been borne from extensive gigging.
PRR really proved that they may have a new sound but they still now how to throw a bloody good gig.
You can check out my review of their new album here